Basic and Most Effective Video Lighting Setup

Lighting can be a bit scary for some, because not everyone has knowledge about it, and it could be confusing at times. You might think that lighting a video is just putting up lights in front of you, around you, or directly at whatever you are shooting. Or maybe you thought that you’ll just turn every single light in your room, and that will light up your video. Well, you could try and do that, but chances are you would still end up with a dark, unbalanced, grainy video.

Video Lighting Setup Basics

Now, if you are shooting outside on daylight, then no need to setup lights, because sunlight is the best light that you could use. However if you’re shooting inside a room, a studio or basically indoors, you’ll need good lighting.

Lighting is actually a critical part of recording and editing a video (especially if you are a vlogger). It should be so good that it doesn’t get noticed. In this post I’m going to explain one of the most effective, basic lighting setup that you could do, and the kind of lights that you could use to set this up.

The very basic setup, and the most used setup to light a subject on screen, is the Three-Point Lighting. This is an industry standard setup and is used on Photo Shoots, Movies, TV Shows, and the likes.


Video Lighting Setup
Video Lighting Setup – three-point setup

1. The first on this setup is  Key Light, this will be your main source of light. This will serve to illuminate the subject.  It creates shadows and texture which actually makes things look natural. Some suggest that if you have a window, you can actually use that as your Key Light, since it is an already diffuse light, and natural light is and always will be the best source of light. However if you don’t live in a house with a big window that could be a possible source of light, then you will need a large diffuse light source.

Since it’s the main source of light, it needs to be big and brightest than the rest. You would not want to place this directly at the subject or directly pointing to your face  because that will create a very bright, white, washed off look, which is not good. We want the contours of our face to show so we place this at about 45 degree angle from you or the subject you are shooting.

2. Fill Light is used to lighten the shadows caused by the Key Light. This will be placed on the opposite side of the key light and should not be as bright as your key light or worse, brighter than your key. It should be just this subtle touch of light on the other side of your face so as to soften up the shadows made by your main light source. Again, do not point this directly at the subject, try to angle it and see how the light bounces off. But if you want your video to have a dramatic touch, you may not need to use a fill light.

3. Rim Light or some call it Back Light, this is use to illuminate the edges of the subject, in a way to separate the subject from the background, kind of give your video some depth to it, because if it’s just the key light and fill light, your back part will be kind of gloomy and the subject kind of mixes to it, which is a bit meh. This will make your subject less flat and more dimensional.



COMPLETE LIGHT KITS: StudioPRO Softbox Lighting Kit / StudioPRO S-600BN LED Lighting KitStudioFX Lighting Kit

Tip: Get a light that is adjustable on temperature because it’s a great help in setting the mood for your scene.


Those are the 3 parts of the Three-Point Light Setup, however you add can more to your video by adding Practical Lights.

  • Practical Lights. These are the lights that you place on your background that can be seen on camera, because let’s say, if your background is dark and one of your light is casting a very strong light, it kind of makes your scene looks fake, because it just doesn’t mix with the rest of the scene and your viewers might wonder where it’s coming from. Example, if you have this orange light subtly illuminating the back of your hair, if you put a lamp on your background that emits the same light color, they’re going to think oh it’s coming from that lamp, when actually it’s coming from the rim light.  Practical lights are used to make your scene more natural looking, so you can use just about any kind of light that makes sense for it.

A good light source and setup will help your camera to work at its best, and give your video that professional look that could really boost your videos to the next level.

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